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Glastonbury Festival has announced the 8 acts who have made it to the final of its Emerging Talent Competition 2024. After a record entry from the wealth of independents based in the UK or Ireland, reaching this concluding stage was tougher than ever. The competition, supported by PRS for Music and PRS Foundation, begins in January with 30 UK-based music writers, including yours truly, taking an equal share of the entries and each selecting three to progress further. This creates a longlist of 90 acts which a different, smaller judging panel then pares down to the eight who will go on to compete in the live final to be held on 27 April.

2023 Winner N’Famady Kouyaté

So, who are they? Congratulations to The Ayoub Sisters, Bryte, Caleb Kunle, JayaHadADream, KID 12, Nadia Kadek, Olivia Nelson and Problem Patterns who were the Round 2 judges’ picks for the live final. Naturally I was extremely sorry that none of my own three choices – Maya Lane, Eighty Eight Miles and Juju – are among the final eight. I hope that they will all take heart and reflect on their amazing achievement to make it to the longlist stage. Equally I hope that the additional exposure from being written about and playlisted by Glastonbury Festival has brought them some new followers.

You can listen to all the finalists now on Glastonbury’s YouTube Playlist. This features the original songs each act entered as their main submission. As you might expect there is an eclecticism to the list as it covers some diverse styles but simply as a subjective preview, here are four of them that seem to especially fit the Fifty3 Fridays oeuvre.

Olivia Nelson              “Oblivion”

Olivia Nelson was the Round 1 choice of freelance music writer Michael Cragg who wrote about her song: “A great voice that oozes raw emotion and immediately captivates you. Is able to make her songs sound like instant classics, but with an edge that feels very now. Oblivion is clearly inspired by a large amount of trauma but has a distinct power to it too.” For me Olivia came across as the complete package and I look forward to hearing her perform live at the final.

KID 12             “Dreams”

Amazingly, Michael was also responsible for putting the next finalist KID 12 through to the longlist. He writes: “There’s something really hypnotic about Dreams and the way KID 12’s voice nestles in amongst production that feels both lo-fi and really well-produced. It’s a really intriguing mix of genres, with a strong melodic sensibility from pop but underpinned by a very 2024 flash of indie. It has a special magic to it.” I couldn’t find anything online about KID 12 other than her YouTube page but she has a fresh, compelling sound that really draws you in.

The Ayoub Sisters      “The Scottish Egyptian”

The Ayoub Sisters were the choice of another freelance writer and Emerging Talent stalwart, Mark Muldoon clearly making a big impression on him as he wrote: “Arab-accented classical music here: close your eyes and you can imagine them playing in the corner of an Edinburgh or Dublin pub. Or, equally, the country’s grandest concert halls. Expect complex musicianship, then, but this track is also underpinned by deft rolling percussion that maintains a sharp urgency. It all builds so well you don’t even notice the exquisite climax it’s gradually – though certainly not straightforwardly – working its way towards.” Another act who should add a fascinating dimension to the live final.

Problem Patterns      “Letter of Resignation”

My final selection from the last eight standing is Problem Patterns who were one of three acts longlisted by Joe Lepper from Neonfiller blog who nicely summed up the band’s appeal: “Belfast four-piece punk band follow in the fine tradition of fellow Northern Irish act The Undertones, writing about everyday life, and whatever makes them angry, through witty, tongue in cheek lyrics. Their 2023 debut album Blouse Club is garnering critical acclaim and their track Letter of Resignation is a particular standout. Who hasn’t wanted to say “you can’t fire me, I’m leaving” at least once in their life!” A fun, energetic track which augurs well for the band’s appearance at the live final.

In hosting and supporting the competition, Glastonbury Festival and PRS should again be applauded for giving unsigned artistes, often unknown outside their immediate fan base, the chance to reach out to a wider audience and put their music front of stage. The eventual winner of this epic contest will earn a slot on one of the main stages at Glastonbury 2024 and be awarded a £5,000 Talent Development prize from PRS. Two runners-up will also each pick up a £2,500 PRS Foundation Talent Development prize. Roll on the final on 27 April.


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Music is a great passion of mine. In my teenage years I was an avid record collector and concert goer. Stints as a booking agent, running folk clubs, promoting gigs and even a crack at artiste management followed. While it never became my main occupation, music was always on my personal radar.


In the past 15 years I have written for leading US music website  Consequence and breakthrough  site, BestNewBands. I am a judge for Glastonbury Festival's Emerging Talent Competition and have reviewed the festival for both sites. I am now pleased to curate my very own music site.


Nothing gives me greater pleasure than unearthing great, original new music and championing independent musicians. You’ll find many of them on this site alongside the occasional legend of times past and I hope they will bring  you as much joy as they give me.

Tony Hardy



Selected dates in the London area:

Thu 23 May: Jon Allen, The Bedford, Balham

Fri 24 May: Grace Cummings, The Lexington, London N1

Thu 30 May: Sweet Billy Pilgrim, Greenleaf  Church, London E17

Fri 7 Jun: Goat Girl, Disco Room - Pryzm, Kingston

Sat 8 Jun: Bat For Lashes, St John's Church, Kingston See the Events page for all live shows in Kingston


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